25 Real Photos Of Women's Breasts (NSFW)

Photographed By Joanna McClure.
This article was originally published on November 1, 2014
Discussions around breasts are rarely controversy-free. To breastfeed, or not to breastfeed? That is one question. Others include: #Freethenipple, or no? Should women revel in the attention and free drinks that a low-cut top can bring, or should they practice modesty and cover up? What about breast augmentation, currently the second most common plastic surgery performed in the U.S.? Most women think about all of these questions at some point in their lives. And, since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to explore the complex relationship women have with their breasts.
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We so often compartmentalize our public coverage of breasts into discrete narratives: breasts as sexual, breasts as nurturing, breasts as the origin of cancer. But, the reality is that women experience the interplay between these narratives (alongside breasts' many other roles and stories) every day. Our breasts can be supremely sexually pleasurable; they can be a source of anxiety about "measuring up" to cultural expectations. They can be beautiful; they can be a source of illness and pain. Each woman's breasts — and each woman's story — are uniquely her own.
So, we bring you 25 women and their personal relationships with their breasts: difficult and celebratory, in sickness and in health.


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This article originally ran September 22, 2014
1 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"I’m a short girl, so sometimes my big breasts threaten to overwhelm me. In fact, a lot of women in my family — including my sister — have gotten breast reductions, so I've considered it. I might go through with it someday, but I want to have kids and breastfeed them first. I also like a more natural look. I think they’re shaped really well and they’re really firm for how big they are.

"I went through puberty super early; I was already a D-cup by the fourth grade. I developed before all the other girls in my class, and middle-school boys were really mean about it. They would grab [my breasts]. They don’t realize that it's wrong because they’re so young. [My breasts] are definitely a focal point and have been my whole life. Now, I've realized that they're just part of my body — I'm a curvy girl — so I really had to embrace them."
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2 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"Almost everyone calls my breasts 'mosquito bites.' I don't think of my breasts as sexual because they're not the size I would like them to be. I also hardly ever wear bras, and I can wear cute [low-cut] tops without showing cleavage at all since...my breasts are so small."
3 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 30 years old. I had a single mastectomy in June, and I now have a softball-shaped spacer where my breast tissue was, in preparation for my reconstructive surgery. My insurance is fighting with me on coverage. That’s where I am right now...waiting for approvals.

"I found the lump at a bachelorette party. I was making fun of a piece of lingerie my best friend had just received, and I put it on as a joke. I felt my breasts and that's when I felt a pea-sized lump. I called maybe 12 different facilities telling them that I had found a lump and I was unsure about it. Most of them told me that because I was under the age of 40 and don’t have a family history of breast cancer, I shouldn’t worry — it was probably just a cyst. But, in the back of my head, I felt uneasy. I found out about free cancer screenings at the Harlem Hospital, and went to get tested anyway.

"In February, they discovered I had three masses. One was DCIS-positive and two were suspicious. In June, when they removed my breast, a total of five masses were completely positive with DCIS, and one area had metastasized into invasive cancer, which could have spread into my lungs, liver, and blood through my lymph nodes. Early detection and persistence saved my life. If you feel something, say something. You know your body."
4 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"Most of the time, I don’t wear a bra, which a lot of busty girls are afraid to do. But, I think it's really liberating and fun. I like the natural look. A lot of women with big busts wear really restrictive bras, but I’m just not into that. Sure, my lower backs hurts a lot, but I do Pilates and I just try to stay healthy and keep my core strong, which helps."
5 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"Six months into hormones — and still not telling anyone that I was a girl — I had a girlfriend who I had just begun to date again after years of being broken up. I had come out to her just before we began dating again... We slept in the same bed one night. New Order's 'Temptation' came on, and she stuck her hand up my shirt and touched my budding, sensitive breasts for the first time. In that moment, I began to overcome shame about my changing body.

"I had breast growth and intense sensitivity (remember puberty?) from years of hormones, but I always identified aesthetically as someone with bigger boobs. Having that surgery felt integral to my personal narrative."
6 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"I'm a plus-size model, and I feel like they want every plus-size girl to be voluptuous. And, I don’t know if that’s realistic for everybody. So, I have inserts that I use occasionally — here and there. It just really depends on the client. I use a silicone insert; they look like chicken cutlets, basically. I feel okay about it. It doesn’t really change anything about me because it's only for 15 minutes. I don’t wear them out to a club or anything like that."
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7 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"It sounds cliché, but my earliest memory of my breasts was probably begging my mom for a training bra. I remember there was a Lizzie McGuire episode where Hillary Duff goes, 'I. WANT. A BRA.' I think that's what inspired me to bring it up to my mom, and even though I never really needed a bra (and still don't always wear one), she was supportive and we picked up some cute, tiny training bras from Limited Too. I felt so cool.

"I don't really think of my breasts as sexual, but it's not because they're 'small.' I actually really like the size; they're not quite a handful, but plump enough to count for something. I've had past boyfriends ask me if I'm going to get a boob job later in life and I'm always like, hell no."
8 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"It's breast cancer awareness month, and my mom recently passed away from breast cancer. So, this is kind of my tribute to women. I want to encourage women to touch their own boobs, to be comfortable with [their] bodies — because most women discover lumps themselves. [My mother] did.

"Breast cancer is totally a fear for me. I didn’t use to have a family history, but, you know, family history starts somewhere. It makes me approach things — life — a bit differently, and also just care about my female health, breast health, and touching my boobs more. Also, my boyfriend loves them."
9 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"The summer before college, I went from an A-cup to a B. Then a C. Then a D, finally reaching a DD (with a booty to match) within months. I was a competitive rower in high school and needed to step away from the sport for my body to find its happy, grown-up place.

"My breasts are sexual when I want them to be, but most of the time, they’re just on my chest. Hopefully, someday they’ll be feeding my children, and when I’m old they’ll be hanging out around my waistline and no one will look at them twice. I don’t show them off much, but when I do, I go all out: push-up bra and low neckline. And, it’s fun. The interactions I have change significantly (read: lots more free drinks). I think my life would be very different if I dressed like that every day, though, and not necessarily in a way that I'd like.

"I also think it’s sad that our culture tends to see breasts as inappropriate. At the end of the day, we all have them — both men and women. And, they’re just skin and tissue: nothing to fear, and nothing to hide."
10 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"My favorite thing about my breasts is that they don’t sag at age 60. As you become pregnant and then nurse and then you’re not [nursing] and then you’re pregnant again and you’re nursing again, your breasts go through major transformations. And, it's all wonderful and all good, but [your breasts] become different to you as your life goes on."
11 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"I have a love-hate relationship with my breasts. That’s for sure. I do love them a lot; I feel like [they] make me who I am...because I’m a curvy girl, obviously. If I didn’t have boobs, it would look a little awkward.

"I love them, but there are times when finding a bra and finding clothes that actually fit is...rough."
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12 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"I developed pretty early, so I had a real bra by the time I was around eight. I went to Puerto Rico to stay with my abuela for the summer, and she saw my bra and thought it was so cute that she literally ran around the neighborhood with it to show everyone."

"I found a breast lump four years ago that grew rapidly, so now I have to get it checked out every year. Right now, I'm young enough that they aren't worried. They think it's just a fat clump, so they don't want to risk biopsy. But, someday I won't be too young to worry about breast cancer."
13 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"A year ago, I decided to make a huge life change: eating Paleo, exercising every day, and being really positive. And, I lost over 20 pounds, so that was really exciting. But, the only thing that was holding me back from feeling really great about myself was my boobs. I felt like they were deformed, flat, and not the same size.

"So, I decided to get a breast augmentation, and it was the best decision I ever made. I feel great all the time. It makes everything awesome. Sure, it's just a boob job — but it's also that little thing that took [my self-esteem] over the edge. It made me feel really great about myself. Obviously, nobody needs it, but if you want it and you can afford it, why not?"
14 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"Breast cancer has changed my life in so many ways. But, most of all, it has taught me to not sweat the small stuff — and to live every day to its fullest!"
15 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"I've had an at-home DNA [test] for months, but I'm afraid to send it in and find out if I am BRCA-positive or not. My grandmother died from breast cancer, and my mother is a survivor. It's sad to say, but I feel like breast cancer is inevitable for me. And, as much as I like my breasts, I kind of think of them as ticking time-bombs."
16 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"I was skinny-dipping in the ocean this past summer, and my boss happened to be 20 yards from me. My boobs became buoyant in the salt water; she saw everything!"
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17 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"When I was 12, I grew breasts. My best friend at the time still had a child's chest, so I prayed to God that my boobs would never grow any larger. They never did.

"I don't really like my breasts. I wish I could say that I've learned to love them and that I'm comfortable in my own skin, but I think they're funny-looking.

"Though, one time, I was at a bar...and Ryan McGinley asked if he could touch my breast. I said 'sure' because I didn't care one way or another. I'm not sure if this is funny or sad or both."
18 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"I used to work at this bar in downtown Seattle, and one time I was outside and some drunken asshole was like ‘titties!’ and so I just yelled back ‘penis!’ really loud, and I thought it was pretty funny."
19 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"My breasts have always been very obviously different sizes. When I was younger, I remember looking down in church one day and just being like, What the fuck? I only wore sports bras for a really long time. I didn’t realize that it was a [normal] thing until I looked it up on the Internet."
20 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"Personally, I’m not a huge fan of my nipples and areola area. My nipples don’t really harden like other women’s do, and the arousal factor just does not exist (is this just me?). They’re just kind of…there.

"But, I did pierce my nip on my 21st birthday (sober, I swear), and I still count it as one of the best decisions, as far as rebellious choices go, that I’ve made. I loved the idea of having this 'secret' that only I — and a couple of friends — was in on. I’ve since taken it out because I had a close call (having my top snag on the bar one day) that made me super paranoid. But, I’ve gone back and forth as to whether I should re-pierce. If I do, I’m definitely doing both babies the second time around. Gotta spread the love."
21 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"When I was in about eighth grade, my mom told me I was 'turning into Angelina Jolie (in Tomb Raider)' right before her eyes. I thought she was talking about my lips."
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22 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"When I was about nine or 10 years old, I remember seeing my girlfriends semi-naked and then looking at myself in private — everyone else's little, mosquito-bite boobs looked so different from mine. I thought I might have been born a man or something because my boobs were way different."
23 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"I don't have anything to say about my breasts."
24 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"I’m much more confident about them now that they’re C-cups. They used to be B-cups, but I gained a little bit more weight. I’m happy embracing my curves; they're beautiful, and I think every woman should embrace them."
25 of 26
Photographed By Joanna McClure.
"I like that my breasts are bigger. I don't think there's anything I don't like about them. When I was younger, I couldn't wait to get them. And, once I got them, it was a loving relationship."
26 of 26
Watch the video for more honesty from women about their breasts.
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